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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Florida's 10 Worst Pests at Work

Jul 13, 2012 06:57PM


You don’t need dangerous chemicals to cope with the 10 most common pests in southwest Florida. According to Dean Burnside, it can be done today with totally “green” remedies.
Burnside should know. He heads one of the largest pest control companies in the region, Macy’s Termite & Pest Control, an industry leader in the use of natural pesticides. Known as the “Good News” company for its Christbased mission, Macy’s made a landmark decision in 2006 to “go green” for its 3,000 customers, eliminating traditional chemical products and substituting natural active ingredients for eradication of household pests. The first to use minimum risk, pesticide-exempt EPA registered products, the company has cemented its reputation as “best of the best” when it comes to managing pest problems naturally.
#1 Ants: Come From Nowhere, End Up Everywhere
Ants can be quite the nuisance and difficult to eradicate. They come in all shapes and sizes. Different varieties include carpenter ants, red imported fire ants, ghost ants, crazy ants and Argentine ants. Some of the most common in our tri-county area are crazy ants (pictured) and ghost ants.
To attack ants, and most of the other pests in the Top 10, Macy’s uses food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE), Boric Acid based products and EPA registered reduced-risk, minimum-risk, and pesticide exempt products.
#2 Roaches: Germ-carrying Dinosaurs of the Insect World
Cockroaches can live for up to one week without a head, can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes, can go a week without water, and can run up to three miles an hour.
Prevention is key to controlling cockroach infestations, stated Burnside. Keep garbage pails tightly sealed, treat exterior as well as interior spaces, and close up gaps in thresholds and window frames. Cockroaches – even the big palmetto bugs so common to our area – can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks.
#3 Termites: The Jaws of Destruction 
Termites do more damage every year than floods, fires, and storms combined, and Florida is the #1 state in the country for termite problems because of our perfect tropical environment. Macy’s is the leader in using natural, organic, and essential oil alternatives to control both drywood and subterranean termites.
Subterranean termites live under the soil. They cause over 80% of the $5 billion in termite damage to homes every year. Drywood are swarming termites that live and feed in dry wood and do not need contact with soil.
For subterranean termites, Macy’s uses Altriset®, the most green termite product ever made by DuPont that is placed around the perimeter of a house or building. It targets and paralyzes the jaws of termites to stop them from feeding. Drywood termites are controlled with Termi-Shield, a liquid treatment that is effective for localized infestations.
#4 Rodents: We’re Not Talkin’ Mickey
Every time builders remove natural landscape to construct homes, rodents are some of the first invaders to take up new residence. Add lush palms and fruit trees and you have the perfect environment for a furry family. A green bait product is now available for rodent population control.
#5 Fleas and #6 Ticks: Nasty Little Bloodsuckers
“At Macy’s, we love our pets, and the effects of chemical pesticides on animals and children can be devastating. That was just one more good reason to look toward organic pest control as the core of our business,” said Burnside.
While considered the bane of animals, a flea or tick infestation inside the home can wreak havoc on people, as well. Macy’s recommends a complete interior and exterior treatment including growth regulators.
#7 Spiders – One Word: Creepy!
Spiders aren’t the “official” bug of Halloween for no reason – they are scary! Most people are relatively unaffected by spider bites, with the exception of the brown recluse (pictured) and the black widow. Bites from these spiders can be painful, even lethal. Burnside recommends prevention, again, by not leaving clothing on the floor and checking shoes before slipping into them. The company’s approach to preventing a spider infestation is sweeping all webs regularly and controlling their food source - insects.
#8 Wasps: Stinkers with Stingers
Wasps, hornets and yellow-jackets are all flying stingers. Although some people are highly allergic to bee stings, the larger wasp family has a more far-reaching effect. Wasp nests can be found in the corners of porches and under eaves, in attics and trees, and can be treated effectively with organic solutions.
#9 Flies: Summer’s Buzzers
Summer wouldn’t be summer in Florida without a fly swatter nearby on porch- es and open lanais. Although a fly bite can be painful (especially a horse fly’s), usually there are no long-lasting effects. Burnside recommends good fly strips and clean sanitation to keep flies away; don’t leave trash or food sitting out. If you notice a swarm of flies coming up from underneath a deck or raised porch, check for a dead animal. Get that critter out and disposed of as soon as you can for the health and safety of other animals and children.
#10 Bed Bugs: Hitchin’ a Ride 
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that prefer to feed on human blood, which they easily access in crevices of furniture and, specifically, beds. You’ll know you have bed bugs if there are droppings in the corners of your bed that look like espresso coffee grounds and you detect the smell of over-ripe raspberries. They can enter your home through luggage, visiting pets or guests’ clothing. The best eradication method is fumigation, mattress covers and detection devices.
Burnside noted, “There is a heightened hunger in both the ‘green’ community and the nation at large for products that work better without poisoning our ground, our water, our air, our pets or ourselves. Our client totals have doubled to over 6,000, satisfaction remains extremely high, and Macy’s is considered a national model for organic pest control – that’s good news indeed.”
For more information on Macy’s Termite & Pest Control and its green pest management program, please call 941-412-9610 or visit online at
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